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Vegetarian Chickpea Sloppy Joes

vegetarian sloppy joes recipe

The Sloppy Joe is an American family dinner staple, but not always the healthiest … but if you know me, I take that as a challenge! This recipe for vegetarian chickpea sloppy joes is just as delicious as the meaty version and will have your whole family asking for seconds!

When you were a kid, what was the one meal you looked forward to the most? For me, it was sloppy joes. There’s nothing better than taking a bite out of a sloppy joe as the filling oozes out of the side and drops onto the plate. My preferred way to eat Sloppy Joes is open faced, that way you get twice the amount of filling. Genius, huh?

vegetarian sloppy joes recipe

Sloppy joes were a staple at the dinner table growing up, especially at my nana’s house. Every summer, we would visit my grandparents in North Carolina and it was guaranteed we would have homemade sloppy joes at least once while we were there. I love my nana’s sloppy joes because they are sweet, savory and finger-licking good.

Trying to incorporate more plant-based meals can into your diet can feel restricting, so I like to find ways to turn childhood favorites and family classics into vegan or vegetarian versions. This recipe for vegetarian sloppy joes is so good; you won’t even miss the beef. And the best part is that it can be on the dinner table in less than 30 minutes!

sloppy joe ingredients

How to make Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

  1. Dice an onion, green pepper and mushrooms and throw them in a pan with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté the vegetables for about 5 minutes on medium heat until the onions are translucent and the veggies are soft.
  2. Add in chili powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute while stirring constantly.
  3. Add water, tomato sauce and tomato paste; reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. While the sauce is thickening, place chickpeas into a bowl and partially smash with a fork. Stir them into the sauce and continue cooking for another 2 minutes until the chickpeas are heated through. Meanwhile, toast the buns under the broiler until lightly golden brown.
  5. Assemble! Spoon ½ cup of the Sloppy Joe mixture on each bun and top with a pickle or two (optional, but recommended!). Now, try not to get your hands and face too messy as you devour this delicious sandwich – I dare you!
smashed garbanzo beans

*I topped this sandwich with homemade sugar-free rosemary pickles from the Athletic Avocado. They are tangy and bursting with flavor making them the perfect topping for this mouthwatering sandwich.

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vegetarian sloppy joes recipe

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

  • Author: FitLiving Eats by Carly Paige
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: Main
  • Method: Stove
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

The Sloppy Joe is an American family dinner staple, but not always the healthiest … but if you know me, I take that as a challenge! This recipe for vegetarian chickpea sloppy joes is just as delicious as the meaty version and will have your whole family asking for seconds!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 8 oz. mushrooms, diced
  • 1 T. chili powder
  • 2 T. brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 1 (8 oz.) can no-salt added tomato sauce
  • 1 T. tomato paste
  • 1 (15.5 oz.) can chickpeas
  • 6 whole-wheat hamburger buns
  • bread and butter pickles, optional

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, along with the onion, bell pepper and mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 minutes until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are softened.
  2. Add chili powder, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Add water, tomato sauce and tomato paste; stir to combine. Reduce heat and simmer for about 2 minutes or until thickened.
  4. Place chickpeas in a bowl and partially smash with a fork. Stir the chickpeas into the simmering sauce and continue cooking for another 2 minutes until the chickpeas are heated through.
  5. Meanwhile, slice the buns in half and place under the broiler until lightly toasted.
  6. Assemble the sandwiches by spooning 1/2 cup of the sloppy joe mixture on each bun and top with a pickle or two. Enjoy!

Keywords: dinner, sloppy joe, sloppy joes, vegetarian, vegetarian sloppy joes

What was your favorite childhood meal? Share with me in the comments below!

-Carly Paige

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56 Responses

  1. Pinned this for later as I have always been a big fan of Sloppy Joe’s. I like to eat them open faced too. I just love the flavors and how they are just messy and good. Can’t wait to try this! 🙂

    1. Thanks, Katie! I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as I do 🙂 Open faced is the way to go and the messier, the better!

  2. I would never have thought to make Sloppy Joes like that! Being from the UK they are something I’ve only had since being an adult & hearing about them on American TV so wanting to find out what they were & try them.
    I’m totally going to try this recipe. I work as head chef in a children’s nursery & the food has to be healthy, I think these would go down very well!
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. How fun! I think the kiddos would love this recipe. If my husband liked it, I can almost guarantee then will too 😉 Thanks for stopping by!

  3. oh sweet baby jesus these looks sooooo incredibly delicious!!! Once i get settled in my move this weekend im totally getting these ingredients! thank you 🙂

  4. I went meatless quite a while ago. I am not a vegetarian but I don’t eat meat either, so I guess I am somewhere in the middle. I have never made meatless sloppy joes, but now I can’t wait to try!

    1. I hope you like it! We aren’t really vegetarians either, but I have tried to incorporate more plant-based meals into our diet.

  5. Yum these sound so good! For some reason when I think of sloppy joes I think of that Mary kate and Ashley Olsen movie ‘It Takes Two’ because I think a food fight started with them throwing sloppy joes on each other, lol. And I always loved hot dogs and mac and cheese growing up. My mom used to make them for lunch when we were out swimming in the pool and that meal brings back so many childhood memories. I’ll sometime make it for my husband and I, but know it’s definitely not the healthiest.

    1. Haha! I haven’t seen that movie in SO LONG but I was obsessed with the Olsen twins. Oh yes, hot dogs… mmmm. My mom always made homemade mac and cheese when we were growing up and now I can’t eat the kind out of the box. It was so so good!

    1. I have been trying to incorporate more plant-based meals into our diet, and my husband and I both loved this recipe!

  6. This sounds great! I never liked Sloppy Joe’s growing up… something about all that sauce and meat. It just wasn’t for me! BUT my taste buds have definitely changed since then 😉 And I love that this is vegetarian. I always enjoy a heart vegetarian dinner option 🙂 Thanks for sharing!!

    1. Funny how your taste buds change as you get older, huh? It’s one of the few veggie recipes I rotate through on a regular basis!

  7. Wow I live in Australia and don’t think I have ever heard of sloppy joe’s before, here we call a sloppy joe a jumper. So loved reading your post and learning something new. My favourite childhood dish was and still is Jacket Potatoes filled with kidney beans and salad.

    1. Yes!! I’ve been meaning to link up. I’m on a 5 hour flight tomorrow and will do it then! Always running out of time… ugh. Thanks for pinning!

  8. Thanks for sharing I’m not a vegetarian but I do like to occasional try healthier versions of my favorites (meatless Monday woot woot).
    It looks really great but the few times I’ve tried chickpeas my body had a horrible reaction! Any suggestions for a substitute?

    1. Oh no! A few people have commented that they use lentils instead of chickpeas which I think is a great idea! Hope this helps 🙂

  9. I loved mac and cheese growing up. Well, I still do haha. My dad would make it straight outta the Kraft box, but I still loved it! Now I make it from scratch…usually.
    This looks awesome, Carly! XOXO

Hi! I’m Carly Paige, a culinary nutrition expert and chef who believes that healthy doesn’t have to be frustrating, boring or restrictive. I’m here to show you how through my Simply Swapped Method so that you can feel more energized and confident from within. You’ll find tips for focusing on nutrition in the kitchen, along with plant-powered, gluten-free recipes that proves healthy can be delicious.

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